2020-Students home for Christmas

Student Christmas dreams become reality following university testing initiative

Wed, 16 Dec 2020 11:56:00 GMT
Nicole and Innes prepare to leave campus for home.
Nicole and Innes prepare to leave campus for home.

Glasgow Caledonian University students from across the UK told how excited they were to be heading home to celebrate Christmas with their families.

Multimedia Journalism Master’s student Nicole Mitchell, who is returning to Nairn in the Highlands, said: “I cannot wait to have Christmas dinner with my family and friends. I’m delighted the University has done all it can to make this happen for me and all the other students.”

Scores of students like Nicole are going home for the Christmas break after the University opened its COVID-19 centre for testing of asymptomatic students at the beginning of December.

The testing site, which ran until December 12, offered free tests to GCU, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow Kelvin College and City of Glasgow College students wishing to travel home for the festive period.

This testing will help to break the chain of transmission to family and loved ones, especially from students who are unaware they have the virus. The tests will also be available to students returning from home to the University in January.

Nicole added: “The testing site has been very helpful. This is a very commendable initiative by the University and it makes me feel proud to be a student here. The testing centre really gives me peace of mind that I can be close to my family and not have to worry about infecting anyone.

“I’ve had a mix of face-to-face and online teaching this year. Even though online classes have been a challenge for everyone, our lecturers have really made the best out of the situation to the benefit of us all.” 

Innes Mason, a first-year Accountancy student, is travelling to Inverness for the holidays. His flatmates in GCU’s student residence – Jamie Braithwaite and Zak Hunter –  are both heading to Dumfries and Galloway.

Innes said: “I’m looking forward to going home and seeing my family, friends and my girlfriend. GCU has been very helpful during this unprecedented time, especially with setting up the student testing centre at such short notice.”

However, students who are unable to go home or have chosen to stay on campus during the holidays will be well looked after with a festive feast and a Christmas gift.

A team of dedicated GCU staff will be on campus throughout the holidays delivering food packages and medicine to those who need it. They will also be making daily calls to students in self-isolation as well as regular calls to students who need extra support.

The student support helpline also will be available to all students on or off campus, to provide wellbeing and welfare support over the Christmas break. 

GCU Students’ Association has organised a programme of online activity for students remaining on campus with three events per week over a three-week period. There will be Christmas jumper competitions, bake offs, bingo and quizzes. All activities will offer the opportunity to win a Just Eat or Uber Eats voucher too.

GCU Students’ Association President Susan Docherty said: “We know how difficult it must be for students not going home this festive season and how isolating it can be with family many miles away, which is why we are urging students who are home and are surrounded by friends and family to jump on to one or more of our activities and be the friendly face of GCU for those who are on their own.”